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L. Neil Smith's
Number 568, May 2, 2010

"Conservatives—Republicans—are socialists."

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The Abyss Also Gazes
by Jim Davidson

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Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

146. He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.
Beyond Good and Evil Friedrich Nietzsche, Chapter IV: Apophthegms and Interludes

Ask why are these wars? They benefit those who supply them. Ask, what of the children slaughtered? They aren't important to those who supply the wars. The people who make the profits from the multi-trillion-dollar war effort do not care about the children who are slaughtered, at all.

Ask why the drug war? It benefits those who supply it. Ask what of the families torn apart, the suffering of the imprisoned, the violence, the wasted lives. They aren't important to those who supply the war. The people who make the profits from the trillion-dollar-plus drug war do not care about the lives destroyed, at all.

Over the last year or so, I have asked people to divest from death, very directly at and in other places. There is very little interest in this project. Divesting from death would be a way of withdrawing your wealth from the war machines. Few people are interested, fewer are divesting. One follower of Rick Maybury's Chaostan newsletter derided the very idea—death merchants make profits, and people invest for profit.

Oh sure, there was divestment from the South during the civil rights movement, in an attempt to end Jim Crow. I think Malcolm X did more for ending segregation and racism by telling his followers to buy rifles and practice shooting than divestment. There was divestment from South Africa to attempt to end the apartheid regime. I think the violence of the rioters with their tire-fire "necklaces" did more to end apartheid than divestment. Anyway, no one is interested in this endeavour.

There is no keeping out of the abyss. It is everywhere, it is overwhelming. The investors in death profit from the slaughter of children in foreign countries. They are covered in blood. It never touches them, but they are drowning in it.

You look at the world and perhaps you ask why God allows it to be this way. God doesn't supervise you. God doesn't choose for you. God believes in free will. When will you start to believe in your free will? When will you take responsibility for your role in the world?

Believe in action, not hope. Hope is nothing. Hope does nothing. You sitting there hoping is nothing. It means nothing. Give up hope and take action. Action changes things. You acting is useful, you hoping is useless. Action that makes things worse can be corrected by other actions—you can learn from your mistakes if only you would act. Hoping does nothing, teaches nothing, paralyses you. Wake up and act. Free your mind from fear, doubt, uncertainty, and act. Believe in yourself. Believe that your actions, today, can make a difference. And tomorrow? Get up tomorrow and take more actions.

People keep asking how a system without rulers would work. It works every time you do what you choose without supervision. What makes you think government works?

If government works so well, why are there so many wars? Look at the dead people. Explain to me about the dead people. If government was such a great idea for keeping the economy humming, why did the economy fall apart in October 2008? Explain the unemployed people. About 22% of the country is unemployed, the overnight lending rate is back up, the stock market was thinly traded to its recent peak and just crashed, again. If these elitist banking gangsters on Wall Street are so clever, why aren't they trustworthy? And if their banks are too big to fail, why are they too fraudulent to function?

General Motors lost billions and went into bankruptcy selling 248,000 cars a month in 2008, as I recall (you could look it up). Government Motors emerged from bankruptcy, sold less than 100,000 cars a month on average in 2009, and guess what? Doesn't make any money. Government—externally imposed, coercive government of confiscatory taxation, redistribution, elitist management, and fiat money—is not solving the problems of surplus order caused by government. What a surprise.

In a pure system without rulers those who hurt others in acts of crime or in acts of neglect (also known as tort) would be expected to pay compensation. Many persons would only deal with those who had insurance or other proof of financial responsibility. Some who are unable to compensate their victims would be ostracised.

In a statist system such as the USA, how would those in government who hurt others be punished? Would those who supply the wars with munitions for profit be punished? Would those who blow up soldiers and civilians be punished? Would the pig who beats up a citizen be punished? Ever? The problem with the question about how criminals would be punished in a pure anarchy is that it presupposes that the questioner lives in a system which catches and punishes criminals. In fact you live in a system which gives badges and uniforms to criminals.

President Barack Obama has authorised the execution of an American citizen allegedly accused of seditious libel (?!) without a trial, without due process of law, without appeal, without the rights of the accused as delineated in the Bill of Rights. Doing so places the American people outside his protection, abdicates government, and imposes tyranny. Obama makes war on the American people. And what are you going to do about it?

Gaze into the abyss, knowing that the abyss also gazes into you. Then think about what you should do. Then take action.

I believe that directly assaulting the government, or those in power, would be a fruitless endeavour. I think it would waste your life if you were involved, it would fail, and it would be used to excuse reprisals. Smashing the state has failed again and again to end the state.

For hundreds of years there has been a proposal on the table from Etienne de la Boetie. Withdraw your support. The tyrants depend on your tax payments. The tyrants depend on you informing on your neighbours, for they cannot be everywhere to see everyone at all times. The tyrants depend on you to support the system, send your sons and daughters to join the military, create the value that they tax all along the way, run the businesses that employ people and pay payroll taxes, do all the things that make the system go. The banking gangsters have the same dependencies.

The banksters depend on your deposits, your investments, your money. They depend on you to invent new things and start new businesses, take them public, and put your money into their stock schemes and bond schemes and collateralised debt obligations and credit default swaps and mergers and acquisitions and idiocies. Withdraw your money from their banks and use a credit union near you. Withdraw your money from your 401K and put it in gold and silver one ounce coins in a vault in your home. Withdraw your money from other forms of investment—in oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, agribusinesses, defence contractors, treasury bonds, and everything else. Don't participate in their schemes. Form a separate economy.

Take yourself apart and touch not the unclean thing comes the recommendation from Leviticus and from Corinthians and from the words of the Essenes. Look not into the abyss, but tend to your own garden, your own home, your own family, your own neighbourhood. Withdraw your support from and involvement with the things that are evil, and look not into the abyss, that it not be afforded opportunities to gaze into you.

A revolution is coming. It is coming to the USA as it is coming to other countries. It is coming to the economies of the world. And it isn't a revolution of guns and wars and slaughter and pillaging—though there is no way to be assured that those in power won't unleash the dogs of war again and again in their desperation to stay in power.

The revolution that is coming had its harbingers in the development of the transfer control protocol that created the robust inter-networking system we call the Internet, and in the development of open source cryptography. Open source software quickly followed, and gave the revolution a boost. Open source operating systems are now the most commonly used for web servers, and are growing in popularity for the desktop. Open source software and operating systems assure greater data security by rapidly identifying security problems and eliminating them through individual action.

The free market money industry of 1996-2007 was destroyed by government action, but it is now ready to rise again. Entrepreneurs, inventors, and coders have developed new techniques for removing the single points of failure that made previous free market money systems like e-gold vulnerable to government attack. A multiplicity of issuers, servers, coding schemes, audit services, fair witness services, and related services of exchange and inter-change are making the new free market money services more inter-operable, more available, and more secure. Much, much more secure.

So secure that it is currently possible for two persons to communicate privately, exchange value privately, and have no other parties detect the transaction. As more and more economic transactions become undetectable, they will be impossible to regulate, to prohibit, or to tax. And without the ability to regulate, prohibit, or tax, the systems of externally imposed coercions that laughably pass for "government" on this planet are going to wither and die.

And they deserve to die. Those systems of hierarchy and control which kill and destroy my brothers, which slaughter children all over the world, which rape and pillage, which plunder in the name of authority and power deserve to be destroyed, broken apart, and turned into dust.

The best part is that this sea change is coming whether I do anything or not. In many ways it is already here. Were I to suddenly be overwrought with madness and become authoritarian, no action on my part could stop what is coming.

You may or may not like the results. You may feel uncomfortable running your own life. You may feel unhappy that there is no machinery of government imposing itself on your family, your friends, your neighbours, and making them do what you think is the right thing to do. And you might have difficulty coming to terms with a world without coercion, where other people can buy and sell things you don't think they should buy and sell. Too bad.

A system without rulers means that you get to choose what actions you take, today and every day. It also means that you do not get to choose what actions anyone else takes.

If that bothers you, if that makes you nervous, if that frightens you, if that makes you want to hit your children, I ask only that you look at the mangled bodies of your countrymen, of the men and women you have sent overseas to fight bloody and idiotic wars on your behalf. Go to the veterans hospitals, go and talk to the veterans of these wars, volunteer in a hospital to help change the colostomy bags of quadriplegic victims of war. Do that, and get back to me on how frightened the new way of doing things makes you. Do it not, and live with my contempt.

Are private economic transactions going to fix everything? Certainly not. What is broken about humanity is what allows a person to fire into a crowd of civilians, go back to "base" and sleep in his bunk. I cannot fix that aspect of human character. The individuals who do these things would need to choose to change their character—such change cannot be imposed upon them by anyone else. All I can expect this new set of technologies to achieve is to deprive those people of the endless supply of money needed to fund overseas adventurism. It isn't very much, and it probably won't be enough to end the extremes of suffering and privation facing so many people year after year. But it is a step forward.

So, actions. Learn about encryption. Download encryption software and use it. Upgrade to an e-mail client like Mozilla Thunderbird that works with Gnu Privacy Guard and the Enigmail Plugin to make e-mail encryption seamless and easy to use.

Learn about virtual privacy networks and other ways to protect your presence on the web. You don't want other people to track your location through your IP address.

Learn about free market money technologies like Loom and Pecunix and Trubanc. Prepare for the new technologies that are coming by understanding what is available today.

Work on your own favourite business ideas—restaurants, beauty supply, soap manufacturing, candle making, gardening, raising livestock, coding, graphics production, whatever brings you joy in your life. Move and leave no forwarding address. Get off the grid by forming a business enterprise or non-profit to engage utilities, rent property, and buy vehicles. Or do things with the help of others who wish to stay on the grid for whatever reasons.

Learn about economics from the Mises Institute, about a stateless society from the Centre for a Stateless Society (e.g., class taught by Gary Chartier), and about agorism from the Individual Sovereign University. Acquire guns and learn to use them—place rounds down range to turn money into skill. Buy body armour and other useful tools—night vision gear, cameras for home and garden, software to instantly upload from your camera or phone the video you just took of a government thug doing evil.

Form networks with people you know, or get to know. Talk to your neighbours. Dig a water well in your yard, or under your house. Look for tools to help you in a power outage and acquire them. Help people in your community adapt to changing conditions in the economy.

Believe me when I say we have a difficult time ahead of us. But if we are to be prepared for it, we must first shed our fear of it. I stand here, before you now, truthfully unafraid. Why? Because I believe something you do not? No, I stand here without fear because I remember. I remember that I am here not because of the path that lies before me but because of the path that lies behind me. I remember that for 235 years we have fought various tyrants. I remember that for 235 years they have sent their armies to destroy us, and after more than two centuries of war I remember that which matters most... We are still here! Today, let us send a message to their armies. Tonight, let us shake this land. Tonight, let us tremble their halls of earth, steel, and stone, let us be heard from red core to black sky. Tonight, let us make them remember, THIS IS AMERICA AND WE ARE NOT AFRAID! (Paraphrased from The Matrix: Reloaded a film by the Wachowski brothers.}

Be the change in the world that you want to see. Abandon hope, and take action.

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Jim Davidson is an author, entrepreneur, and anti-war activist. His 1990 venture to offer a sweepstakes trip into space was destroyed by government action as was his free port and prospective space port in Somalia in 2001. His 2002-2007 venture in free market money and private stock exchange was destroyed by government action in 2007. He's going to Mars if he has to walk. His second book, Being Sovereign is now availble from Lulu and Amazon. His third book Sovereign Self-Defense will be released for Kindle soon. His fourth book Being Libertarian will be available for free download as a .pdf, being a compilation of all his essays and letters in "The Libertarian Enterprise" since 1995. Contact him at or


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